[rescue] Airport Security and Rescues...

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Thu Mar 27 11:03:17 CDT 2008

On Thu, 27 Mar 2008, Geoffrey S. Mendelson wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 06:38:21AM -0400, Phil Stracchino wrote:
>> I have more than once speculated that the real purpose of the TSA is to
>> make air travel so intolerable that nobody in the US flies any more.
>> The one thing I can't figure out is what the win in this is for the
>> government.
> If you have ever flown El-Al, you understand why the TSA does what it
> does. El-Al uses all sorts of politicaly incorrect methods of spotting
> the people who may be terrorists and questioning and inspecting them.
> The TSA does basicly the same thing, but since they can't use those
> methods they have to use a 10 pound hammer to accomplish what could be
> done with a pair of tweezers if left alone.
> The win in it for the U.S. Government is that they "keep the skys safe"
> and don't spend all of their energy fighting lawsuits.

I would argue that the situation in the US does not directly compare to
the situation in Israel.  Whereas Israel and its neighbors do not get
along, for whatever reason, and Israel is frequently on the receiving
end of terrorist violence, the US generally doesn't have[0] that problem.

Okay, yes, we had that incident in 2001, but I doubt that any future
attempt at the same trick would work again.  Any poor idiot heading to
the cockpit screaming in a foreign language with a knife, box-cutter, or
cocktail fork would have his back broken by every able-bodied man and
woman in that vessel while he made his attempt to break through the
now-locked and now-reinforced cockpit doors.

Thus, I argue, there is no need for all this government thuggery.  The
problem is minimal, and I believe, now that people realize that being
hijacked doesn't necessarily just mean an unplanned detour through Cuba,
can be dealt with by the flying public.

This stupid nonsense of taking off shoes and disallowing liquids on
planes and whatever doesn't make anyone safer.  And it should make
anyone -feel- safer if they pay attention to the statistics of the TSA's
internal tests when confronted with real dangers.  Sure, they can keep
thin Apple laptops and diet sodas from getting on planes, but they fail
at roughly 70% of the simulated explosives and chemical agents that
might actually be used to destroy an airplane.

The TSA's purpose is simple.  They fulfill the perceived public's want
for the government to "do something" about airline security, while
conditioning the public to accept expanded and more invasive police
powers.  It's the airport equivalent of "knock and talk" being the
"something" the government "does" about firearm violence.

[0] Though we're well on our way to buying that particular problem,
     since we can't seem to keep our collective nose out of the problems
     (real or perceived) of the rest of the planet.
Jonathan Patschke | "There is no such thing as a short of reserves...
Elgin, TX         |  one bank can have a problem...the Fed can print
USA               |  money, there is no shortage."
.                 |     --Jim Glassman, US Economist, JPMorgan Chase

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